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Episode 90: Nine Yards of Crazy

May 23rd, 2014 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we demonstrate scenario construction by brainstorming a Fear Itself adventure featuring the fearsome Crate Man.

Duck furtively into the Cartography Hut as we look at maps as secrets.

In Ask Ken and Robin we field a query from Tom Allman on prepping for Cthulhu games.

Then we sidle up to Ken’s Bookshelf to vicariously paw through the spoils of his recent raid on Powell’s Book City in Portland.

It’s yo ho ho and a pocketful of doubloons as Atlas Games surveys the seven seas from the crow’s nest that is our coveted anchor sponsor slot. Parrot on its shoulder, it orders up another special deal for Ken and Robin listeners, this time in the form of their innovative game of piratical nautical warfare, Pieces of Eight.

 

 

This week’s show is also brought to you in part by the World of Aetaltis. The Temple of Modren, the first sourcebook introducing this exciting new Pathfinder Compatible world, is now Kickstarting.

7 Responses to “Episode 90: Nine Yards of Crazy”

  1. FMguru says:

    I’m sure it just slipped Ken’s mind, but one of the few actual wartime spy efforts that changed history was the Sorge warning to Stalin in 1941. For those not familiar with him, Richard Sorge was part of the German embassy in Tokyo, and was also a fervent communist, and he smuggled a lot of high-level intel about Axis intentions and planning to his handlers in the USSR where, naturally, most of it was ignored (including the plan and date for Barbarossa) but in the late summer of 1941, as it was clear that the Wehrmacht was going to destroy the entire Soviet army in the west, Stalin was faced with the decision to pull most of his troops out of Siberia (where they were keeping an eye on the Japanese and had fought an enormous battle at Nomohan/Khalkin-Gol just a few years earlier) at the risk of enabling the Japanese to swoop in and gobble up all of the eastern Soviet Union. Sorge was right in the middle of the negotiations between Germany and Japan about trying to get Japan to enter the war, but Japan, having gotten its butt kicked at Nomohan wanted no part of the USSR and refused to commit any troops (unless Moscow or Stalingrad fell, in which case they’d gladly join in to feast on Russia’s corpse, Mussolini-into-France style). Sorge got word of this to his handlers, and it apparently carried a huge amount of weight with Stalin who was inclined to distrust all spies being agents of British or someone trying to manipulate him (Stalin was a wee touch paranoid, as you may recall). But being the guy who called the date and time of Barbarossa gave him pretty good credibility, and so Stalin stripped his eastern defenses and redeployed the entire Siberian army, which arrived in front of Moscow just before the Nazis did and held the line there and eventually became the nucleus of the new, rebuilt Red Army that would raise the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag a few years later.

    Sorge paid for it, though. His effort to get the info to his handlers in a timely fashion meant he had to break a lot of tradecraft rules and it got him noticed and arrested and interrogated and eventually shot. He was still one of the few spies to make a real difference in the world history, and he has only recently gotten his due (his role remained obscure in the Soviet Union because Stalin wasn’t real big on sharing credit for his good decisions with anyone, especially someone whose explicit warnings about Barbarossa he’d ignored). His story would make a good Tradecraft Hut segment.

    • Tom says:

      OK, but *apart* from that, what have spies ever done for us?

      Sorge also pitched up in Shanghai in 1930, making him an ideal Trail of Cthulhu NPC.

  2. RogerBW says:

    A map that’s a secret may be a secret about the shape of the world: it really is flat, or if you sail this particular course you end up in the Secret Place that you don’t get to any other way. (Which would have been true about early maps of the Atlantic.)

    One GM I know has turned the ability of players to distract themselves with tablets and phones into an asset: when something comes up that he doesn’t immediately know about, some of the players look it up and hit the high points, while he keeps on GMing for the others.

  3. Chris Angelucci says:

    Would you please do a segment on Sir Richard Burton (the explorer, of course) and his uses as a GM character? There’s also the great mystery of what his wife destroyed when he died and she burned many of his manuscripts.

    Thanks for a great and always entertaining podcast.

    Chris Angelucci

  4. KenR says:

    You’ve had a lot of CoC related questions lately, but how would you keep the tension and atmosphere up over the long play time of a long game like Masks of Nyarlathotep?

    I have never run it, but it seems like after a few rounds of character deaths, the tension might decrease quite a bit. Not to mention the believability issues in having a constant stream of replacement investigators..

    Or, if you’d prefer a more general question, what are some tips for keeping a long running (a year or more) campaign lively and from re-treading the same ground?

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